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Nutr Cancer. 2006;54(1):111-42.

Fruit and vegetables in cancer prevention.

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1
Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland.

Abstract

Our aim was to review the epidemiological literature on possible cancer-preventive effects of the consumption of fruits and vegetables in humans, to quantify the effect of high versus low consumption of fruits and vegetables, and to give an overall assessment of the existing evidence. We based our work on an expert meeting conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2003. A qualitative reading and evaluation of relevant articles on the cancer-preventive effect of the consumption of fruits and vegetables was made followed by the calculation of the mean relative risk and range for cohort and case-control studies separately. The possible population-preventable fraction for modifying diet in relation to fruit and vegetable consumption was calculated as well as an overall statement about the degree of evidence for the cancer-preventive effect of fruit and vegetable consumption for each cancer site. There is limited evidence for a cancer-preventive effect of the consumption of fruits and vegetables for cancer of the mouth and pharynx, esophagus, stomach, colon-rectum, larynx, lung, ovary (vegetables only), bladder (fruit only), and kidney. There is inadequate evidence for a cancer-preventive effect of the consumption of fruits and vegetables for all other sites. Applying this range of risk difference to the range of prevalence of low intake, the preventable fraction for low fruit and vegetable intake would fall into the range of 5-12%. It is important to recognize that this is only a crude range of estimates and that the proportion of cancers that might be preventable by increasing fruit and vegetable intake may vary beyond this range for specific cancer sites and across different regions of the world.

PMID:
16800779
DOI:
10.1207/s15327914nc5401_13
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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